Extraordinarily exclusive.

READ REVIEW

ISABELLA, ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE

A child can’t decide how to spend her day but takes inspiration from her love of art.

Isabella is content to spend her day off from school at home with her stuffed toy mouse, but her parents try to find alternate activities. Their discussion about possible places to visit and things to do is embedded with fine-art references that are also depicted and referenced in the illustrations. When Isabella’s mother asks, “[H]ow about the park?” Isabella responds, “Let me THINK about it,” and digital art depicts her as a statue in a pose similar to Rodin’s The Thinker that’s being carved by her now-anthropomorphized, sentient toy. Subsequent spreads reveal 10 other references to fine art, all but one of which are by white men. Mary Cassatt’s The Boating Party is the exception, in a spread depicting Isabella and her parents in a rowboat as she says, “A BOAT PARTY would be fun….But it’s awfully chilly today.” The exclusivity is enough to make readers “SCREAM” like Munch’s subject in another painting referenced in the book. At the end, Isabella invites her parents to see a museum of her own making, and they admire pictures on her bedroom wall inspired by the referenced art pieces, which are then identified in backmatter.

Extraordinarily exclusive. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7264-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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